01 November 2017

drinkin' & rippin': 2017 topps heritage minors

Tuesday the 24th was a long day. Some travel, meetings, a webinar, an more travel. After returning from beautiful Avon, NY - gassing up the rental and jamming the key into the drop box, I returned home to find a svelte cardboard box on the table from Dave & Adam's Card World. Inside were two boxes of 2017 Topps Heritage Minors and some free hockey packs.

I haven't bought boxes since about 2013 or so, again with a Topps minors product in Pro Debut. Then, I did well. This time, well...let's see.

Drinkin' and Rippin' is a simple concept. A boy, a beer and a box of cards. In this case, two hobby boxes of 2017 Heritage Minor Leagues. The beer in this case is from Thin Man Brewery in the Elmwood area of Buffalo and is the double-dry-hopped version of their Very Friendly IPA. It's fucking great.

On to the cards.

My goals were simple: a few Blue Jays, some hot prospects, and some Yankees to flip. If we can't avoid all of the Yankees seeded into today's product, we might as well profit.

It started off as expected, with plenty of Yankees to be had. I think they made up at least 10% of the base set and closer to 15% of the inserts. This is a lot easier to disguise in minor league sets where all levels of the minors cloak the pinstripes.

Each box contains a relic and an autograph, and Box 1 was a dud in that regards. The following are two of the lesser impressive or impactful available.

The Jorge Mateo (a Yankee, of course) was the first "hit" to come out of the packs, and man. I wasn't ready for this kind of disappointment. The cards are absurdly thick for not being patches, resulting in packs of just three cards. At least Mateo is a good player, and a fast one at that: he stole 234 bases in 452 minor league games so far, and he's just 22 years old.

Next up came the auto, from Jacob Heyward. I had to look him up, which isn't a good sign. The Giants' LF prospect had a pretty mediocre season in 2017 at A-Ball.

The autos take the look of the base card, but come backwards in the pack as they're potentially hard to spot. With Heyward signing blue on a white jersey, it wasn't difficult in this case.

Here's a short print of Twins' middle infielder Nick Gordon. This one shows just how pretty these cards can be in their 1968 glory. There was another significant SP in these boxes, but this one was a football player in a baseball set for some reason:

Baseball America All-Stars fan 1:6 packs, so I was hoping for six, and received six.

These are really excellent, bringing the scouting and prospecting aspect to the hobby without having shlubby Bowman scouts signing sticker autos. I was very lucky to pull Blue Jays' top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and future impact OF Ronald Acuna of the Atlanta Braves organization. Vlad Jr. cards are already looking extremely collectible.

Speaking of Blue Jays, there were plenty in Heritage Minor Leagues, a 250-card set.

Again, Guerrero is looking awesome. Redi-Foley...might be considering his next murder. The Rios is a total dud. But there's more:

We get ROWDY and Urena in the next batch, along with a J.B. Woodman. Urena was solid in his limited MLB debut in 2017, but Tellez was disappointing with Triple-A Buffalo.

Another future Blue Jay falls from the 1:5 Topps Discs insert, this time Bo Bichette, who won a MiLBY award for Offensive Player of the Year. When I say falls, I mean it literally. If you're not paying close enough attention, when you pull the deck of cards out of the pack, the discs fall out freely. There were also some mascots involved in this set, but I couldn't care less about those.

Of course, with it being a Topps release, there were plenty of parallels:

Blues fall 1:17 and are numbered to /99.
Greens fall 1:33 and are numbered to /50.
Grays fall 1:66 and are numbered to /25.

None of the above are particularly interesting and they'll probably end up on ebay.

On to the good stuff. This box treated me well with the second memorabilia card, as I added ex-Blue Jay and current Oakland Athletic Franklin Barreto to my collection.

plain gray swatch

After that, though, a case hit:

You might be thinking, "Hey, that's just a base card." And you would be right, but in this case Topps has dropped Arozarena's first name on this card (it's Randy, by the way) and printed them at a scant enough amount for them to be inserted at 1:714. This one already sold on ebay, but there's not much demand for this listless variation.

While the Arozarena pull was a good one, it paled in comparison to the autograph in box two. Prior to this one, I was a little disappointed.

Looks familiar, right? It's the first card in this post, but it's also a photoshopped and autographed version of it, featuring one of the game's elite prospects in Eloy Jimenez. While not rare, this is a huge pull for the player alone.

Heritage Minors 2017 was a good break, but most of it's allure comes from very rare parallels and the potential of guys like Eloy Jimenez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Gleyber Torres. It's affordable at just $52/box, and the reward can be either significant or non-existent. It's a bit of a roulette, nut fun nonetheless. 

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